I’ll start off with a “story” someone told me not too long ago, I kind of changed it to my version as I can’t recall the whole story word for word.
When we were young and innocent, we thought that our dad was the smartest guy on earth where he has the answers to everything. When we are in our teens and early twenties, we would think that our fathers may not be correct and not that smart after all. When we are in our 20’s to 40’s, we would think that we are smarter than our fathers. When we reach the age of 40 and above we would think back and say to ourselves that dad may be correct after all. And after our dad is gone, we wish that he was around to guide us.
I was fortunate to have the luxury of spending time with my great grand parents while I was a young boy. My great grandpa would take the young ones (mostly my dad’s cousins who were around the same age as me) to the movies after school and I have very fond memories of him. My great-grandpa and great-grandma passed away when I was 15 years old and while in uni respectively. My great-grandpa can’t speak or understand English and would only take us to watch Chinese Kung Fu movies. But once I suggested that we watch an English action movie called Police Woman and guess what? My great grandpa loved it, hahaha. Unfortunately, I do not have a single photo of me with both my great grandparents; and I regret it because its not to say that I didn’t have a camera then. When we are young, we kind of take things for granted, as if the entire world is here for us and we cannot foresee the importance of things happening there and then.
The most heart touching day in my entire life up to this point in time was seeing the birth of my eldest son, don’t know how to explain the feeling in words. I even took the camcorder into the delivery room to take a video of it, but the video recorder then was in mini VHS format and not digital. For years I wanted to go find someone that can transfer it to digital format; but, up till today, I have not done so! Later got a DV camcorder and started burning videos into VCDs which took hours until I got a Sony camcorder that records in a memory stick and save me a hell of a lot of time editing.
For more than 20 years (prior to me quitting my job on 1 Jan 2011), I have spent most of my time on work related matters, luckily my wife was around to take videos of my children while they were growing up, and watching the videos at least I get to see some of my children’s growing up days and I tell you it is a wonderful thing. Time flies and in no time your child would be entering his/her teens and eventually start their own family.
There was a time early in my career in the mid 90s where I was attached to a contractor where the working hours were long including weekends and I seldom got to see my eldest son who was 3 years old then. One evening around 9pm, I came back from work and went into his room and he said “papa get out”. My heart sunk and I had never felt so dejected in my life, but I realised it was not his fault and I blame it on myself. The next day I quit the job and subsequently returned back to my first job, i.e. 5 days week job with an Engineering Consultancy. Back then getting a job was easy and the share market was going up everyday so no problems with having no Ringgit and also why I could afford toys like camcorder, notebooks, handphones, etc etc.
Another proud day in my life was the day my eldest son at the age of 17 years old entered one of the Top 10 Engineering Schools in USA (that was in 2009). My wife and I flew with him to USA and had the luxury to bond with him for a few days prior to the start of his first semester. The night before we left him at the university, I was very happy and also sad at the same time as he’s taking his first steps into adulthood. He has since graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering degree (from the Top 10 USA Engineering Uni) and subsequently obtained a Master of Engineering degree from an Ivy League University. Today, my eldest son is pursing his third degree, in his 3rd year out of 4 years, post graduate Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree in an Australian uni ranked in the World’s Top 50 for medicine. He’s now an adult and lives on his own and no longer seeks my permission/consent for anything, e.g. last March, he flew to Bangkok from Australia for his uni break and only told me the day before he went!
My second child, a daughter, has graduated from a Melbourne Uni with a Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree last year (2016) from a uni ranked World’s No.2 for Pharmacy, and now pursuing a post graduate degree. My third child, a boy, is in his second year pursuing an Accounting Degree in a Melbourne uni too (ranked World’s No.11 for Accounting). Only my youngest daughter is still high school (Year 11 in one of the best high school in Melbourne where she had to compete with thousands for a place by sitting for an entrance exam while in Year 8). I have no qualms burning money on my children’s education because actually they are spending away their future inheritance in advance and for a good cause 🙂
When my youngest daughter was around 3 to 4 years old, whenever I come back from work, and if she is still awake, she would rush to the door just to hug me. All my children have grown up and nowadays they hardly even talk to me!!! Whenever I am in Melbourne, the moment my 3 younger children come back from school, they will head straight to their rooms to play games or surf the internet on their iPads, iPhones or notebooks/MacBooks). I only get to chat with them during dinner and that’s less than half an hour. Pathetic right, considering what I have sacrificed for them!!! And I guess it’s all my fault too, for buying each of them an iPad, iPhone and notebook/MacBook, hahaha.
Nowadays, most of us take tons of photos and videos with our smartphones. What I want to share with you guys who are just starting a family is that you must take lots of photos with your children every single year. I am not talking about selfies but actual photos with background. For example, if you take your child on holiday, and if there’s a swimming pool, I bet your child will be really happy that day. Take a photo of you with your child beside the pool. Years down the road, when either one of you see the photo, it will bring back fond memories of the time you had together. Another example, take a photo of you and your child beside your car, 20 years down the road, that car may no longer be around, but when you see the photo of your kid and the car, it will bring back priceless memories of you driving your child in it. And also starting from today, whenever the opportunity arises, you should take photos with your grandpa, grandma, dad, mum, child and grandchild. Not only group photos BUT more importantly, photos of just the two of you, e.g. you and your grandpa with nobody else. And the most important thing you must then do is PRINT HARDCOPIES OF THEM.
Same thing for videos, record everything, everywhere and everytime you have the opportunity and burn it into DVDs and copy the file everywhere i.e. external hard drives, pendrives, memory cards or whatever because nowadays the digital storage mediums don’t last, e.g. your smartphone goes kaput or stolen.
As for parents, my dad told me once that his job was to give me an education and the rest was up to me. I really appreciate what my parents have gone through in order for them to give my siblings and me a formal education (all four of us graduated from USA universities where one of my sisters graduated from an Ivy League Uni and even obtained a PhD and now a Professor in a California State Uni).
I (being the eldest) entered University in the mid 80’s when we were in a recession. My dad (who has a Bachelor of Engineering from University Malaya) at that time was as good as broke as his clients were not paying him (almost everybody was broke at that time as the economy was really bad) and he had no choice but to sell off his property (in an exclusive area at a low price, today that property is worth millions) so that my brother ( a year younger than me) and I had the opportunity to study in USA.
My dad also told me after I graduated that I was (still am) stupid that with the education I have gained, I smoke. And he’s right, but like I said earlier, when one is in his 20’s, he thinks he’s smarter than his dad. Now I am in the forties, still smoking and I guess when I am in the hospital bed dying from lung cancer then only I will admit that dad was right after all. Now it is my turn as a dad to provide for my children with the best possible education I can and hopefully that they will have a good life in the future.
As for my Grandpa, he just turned 100 years old this year (2017), well I guess just like any other grandparents they tend to pamper their grandchildren. My grandfather is a very smart and wise man and can see through me and everyone else. Over the years I have taken many photos and videos of him and always insist that my children take photos with him too. And the most valuable lesson in life that I have learned from him is not about money but the value of memories we have. As we grow older, what we treasure most is not wealth but fond memories of our children and loved ones.
So, go take photos with everyone you love and respect. Or for that matter, take photos for whatever occasion, like while you are working on something, your children playing, anything, you may not feel it is important but once that moment passes, it is gone forever. Print those photos, don’t be penny wise pound foolish and keep in the computer or memory chip as one day those photos stored in memory chips/hardisk will be lost. Videos may not be as good compared to photos because when we get really old, we may not be able to operate the video player or the video format may have changed, serious. The day will come when you are old and alone and when looking back at the photos you’ll thank me for it.
Last but not least, if you have never hugged your mum and/or dad and say, “I Love You”, go do it immediately. Some of you may have been wanting to tell your dad (or someone that is important to you) – “I Love You”; but somehow it just can’t come out from your mouth. Well, I had this problem too.
During the 4 days Blocked Qi Release Technique Seminar that was taught by my Master C K Tan, he made us all sit down with a blank piece of paper and ask us to write a letter to someone we love but having communication problems with. I don’t really have any communication problems with my dad but I just can’t seem to tell him how much I love him even though I have been wanting to do it for ages!!! So I wrote a letter to my dad where I finally expressed to my dad how grateful I am to him and that I love him truly. I then gave him the letter the same day. I am so grateful to my Master C K Tan, not only did he teach me how to help others using Blocked Qi Release Technique but he has helped me achieve inner peace (writing the letter to my dad is just one of the many wonderful things I learned during the class to achieve inner peace).
With the above, if you are having difficulty expressing your love and gratitude to someone, then try writing a letter to him/her (take your time in a calm place where you won’t be distracted) before it is too late and not having to regret it for the rest of your life for not doing so.